The 1981 NBA Playoffs were the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1980–81 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Houston Rockets 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.

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  • The 1981 NBA Playoffs were the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1980–81 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Houston Rockets 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. Cedric Maxwell was named NBA Finals MVP.The playoffs are notable for being the second and final time to date that a team with a losing record advanced to the NBA Finals (the Minneapolis Lakers did it first in 1959 with a 33–39 record), as the Rockets won their first Western Conference title despite having a 40–42 record.This was the only time in NBA history in which two teams with a losing record played each other in a Conference Finals. The Rockets and the Kansas City Kings, both with a 40–42 record, played in the Western Conference Finals which saw the Rockets prevail 4–1.The Kings' playoff series victories over the Blazers and Suns were their last in Kansas City. Their last playoff series in Kansas City was a 3-game sweep in the first round in 1984 by the Lakers. They moved to Sacramento after the 1984–85 season and didn't win a playoff series representing northern California until 2001.The Pacers became the last former ABA team to make their playoff debut, but were quickly swept by the 76ers 2–0.This is the last year to date that an NBA playoff game was played in March.The Celtics replicated their 1968 comeback by beating the Sixers in 7 after trailing 3–1. This is the only time a team came back from a 3–1 series deficit to win against the same team twice. (en)
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  • The 1981 NBA Playoffs were the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1980–81 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Houston Rockets 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. (en)
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